Mandate Madness

Nov. 19, 2021

To those pushing back against the national vaccine mandate: Just stop.

President Biden’s vaccine mandate, in case you haven’t heard, is getting a lot of pushback.

In early September, Biden took several measures to bump up America’s rate of vaccination against COVID. The most sweeping, and the one that most concerns business, is that employees of companies with payrolls of 100 or more would either have to be fully vaccinated or take weekly COVID tests.

The result has been a lot of fulmination about “tyranny,” culminating in a lawsuit that successfully convinced a judge to put the mandate on hold. Meanwhile, resistance has reached the point where some companies are actually adding “no vaccine required” to their Help Wanted ads. Now comes the Natural Products Association, a trade group for makers and sellers of natural foods, dietary supplements and health/beauty aids, with a press release titled “NPA Asks U.S. Court of Appeals to Declare Mandate Unlawful.”

The release quotes this group’s president, Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., as saying, “We are asking the Court to declare this mandate unlawful because we believe it exceeds the government’s authority, is unconstitutional, is unsupported by substantial evidence, and improperly preempts state law. We are hopeful that cooler heads will prevail so we can have a real debate on the best course of action.”

To which the only possible response is:

Has this whole country gone mad?

Vaccine hesitancy is the only reason the pandemic has lasted as long as it has. If Americans accepted the COVID vaccines as readily as they have, for decades, accepted vaccines for polio and all kinds of other catastrophic diseases, the danger would have been over long ago.

I don’t know what Daniel Fabricant has a Ph.D. in, but I assume it’s something to do with science. If so, more than the average person, he should appreciate the gravity of the situation and the necessity to boost vaccination rates as high as possible.

I can hardly believe it’s necessary to still say this, but until the day comes when robots can do everything, the food industry will always be especially susceptible to highly contagious diseases like COVID. It's unavoidable because of the nature of the work: in-person, in a combined space, often in crowded conditions. Vaccination is the only realistic way out of the situation, unless we want to try to put workers in phone booths or something. Industry leaders need to be shouting the necessity for vaccination from the rooftops, not dragging their feet.

The development of the COVID vaccines is a medical miracle for which we should all be collapsing with gratitude. Instead, way more of us than necessary will be collapsing because we can’t get enough oxygen into our lungs. And it will be because we listened to a lot of people who really should have known better.

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